Image By Etihad Airways.
Image By Etihad Airways.

United Arab Emirates carrier Etihad Airways is extending its COVID-19 global wellness insurance cover until 1 October 2021, resulting in Etihad’s passengers diagnosed with COVID-19 during their trip getting continued coverage for their medical expenses.

Etihad’s Senior Vice President Sales & Cargo Martin Drew commented on the extension: “Extending Etihad’s COVID-19 global wellness insurance reinforces the effectiveness of Etihad Wellness, the airline’s health and hygiene programme. It’s an added benefit automatically provided to all guests – no exceptions. As Etihad continues to gradually expand its services to up to 60 destinations this spring, the airline wants to instil confidence to travel and hopes this additional cover will reassure guests Etihad is doing everything it can to keep them safe and protected.”

A challenging year

The airline announced its financial and operating results for 2020 late last week, recording a 76% fall in passengers carried throughout the year due to lower demand and reduced flight capacity caused by the commercial aviation global downturn. The airline’s total passenger capacity was reduced by 64% in 2020 to 37.5 billion Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs) when compared to 104 billion in 2019.

Etihad Airways A380. Image By Etihad Airways.
Etihad Airways A380. Image By Etihad Airways.

The airline’s passenger revenue was  US $1.2 billion, down from US $4.8 billion in 2019. The carrier says a contributing factor to this was the total suspension of passenger services into and out of the UAE from end of March until early June 2020 to limit the spread of COVID-19.

However, the airline’s cargo operation recorded an extremely strong performance, with a 66% increase in revenue. The result was driven by demand for medical supplies and pharmaceuticals and limited global airfreight capacity.

On target with transformation

According to Etihad, the carrier was ahead of its transformation targets set in 2017 before the pandemic, having registered a 55% cumulative improvement in core results by end-of-year 2019. The carrier has also been accelerating its transformation plans during the pandemic, going ahead with the restructuring of the organisation to create a leaner and more agile business.

Tony Douglas, Etihad’s Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “Covid shook the very foundation of the aviation industry, but thanks to our dedicated people and the support of our shareholder, Etihad stood firm and is ready to play a key role as the world returns to flying. While nobody could have predicted how 2020 would unfold, our focus on optimising core business fundamentals over the past three years put Etihad in good stead to respond decisively to the global crisis.”

We have taken bold action to protect our people and our guests, develop an industry-leading health and hygiene programme, and restructure our business to better position us for recovery. As the world’s first airline to vaccinate all our operating pilots and cabin crew against Covid, we are ready to welcome back travellers to experience best-in-class travel with Etihad Airways.

Tony Douglas, Etihad’s Group Chief Executive Officer

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